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Starbucks and Bakkt: Closer to Smelling the Coffee with Crypto?

By Tracy Hannes | March 7, 2019
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Starbucks and Bakkt: Closer to Smelling the Coffee with Crypto?

Using Bitcoin to pay for your morning caffeine fix at Starbucks may finally be getting somewhere.

After some ambiguity over how its partnership with Bakkt for crypto payment ability will materialize in implementation, a source close to the deal now says that Starbucks has taken a “disproportionately high” equity cut in Bakkt.

Other than Starbucks, Bakkt’s investment partners include Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group, and a string of Wall Street players like Fortress Investment Group, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, and Pantera Capital.

In return for the substantial equity stake in Bakkt, it is understood that Starbucks will stick to honoring a commitment to implement crypto payment ability in its stores this year. Bakkt software will be used in-store to convert crypto payments from customers into fiat for Starbucks.

Starbucks has denied in the past that customers will be able to pay for their coffee directly in crypto. Rather, it has insisted that crypto payments will be converted into fiat for coffee.

Bakkt plans to offer a number of crypto-related services this year. It is a digital assets platform set to launch later this year by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). ICE owns exchanges for financial and commodity markets, operating 23 leading global exchanges along with the New York Stock Exchange.

Citing an unnamed source, The Block said that Bakkt’s crypto-to-fiat service will be made available after its main platform launches. Bakkt is also working to launch physically-backed Bitcoin futures, which are awaiting approval from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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